Sometimes I say things that tick people off, because I don’t shy away from controversy and I tell it like it is. So I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I have to come clean: I’m just not that into using essential oils.
I’ll stand here while you get the rotten tomatoes ready.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used essential oils for years, but when it comes to keeping my family healthy, they’re not really at the top of my list. Let me explain.
There are a few specific reasons I’m not that into using essential oils, and below, I’ll lay ’em all out for you.
Why I’m not that into using essential oils
Before I get into my specific reasons, I will tell you this: I do use essential oils. I mean, they smell nice. And they do have their strengths (which I’ll tell you about below). However, when it comes to keeping my family healthy, I’m just not that into them. Here’s why:
Essential oils are a bandaid
While they are natural and smell lovely (ok, some of them do- have you ever smelled vetiver? Stiiinky!), I feel that a lot of people simply replace their over the counter meds with essential oils.
Instead of Rolaids, they rub a digestive blend on their tummy. Instead of acetaminophen, they rub a little peppermint on their temples (I’ve even written about doing that here). Allergy meds have given way to popular “allergy bombs,” aka essential oil cocktails.
It is good to get away from pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs; don’t get me wrong. But if you’re simply swapping one out for the other, you’re not healing the underlying condition.
Essential oils are not a substitute for a healthy diet. You cannot go on eating sugar and processed foods and just essential oil harder to make up for it.
Using essential oils can’t replace using a good probiotic, which will actually change the bacterial content of your gut, and thereby create lasting change in your health.
They also can’t replace healing a child’s behavioral disorder like ADHD from the inside with diet changes like the GAPS diet. In fact, I’ve tried lots of essential oils for calming and they have never had any affect on my hyperactive kid.
Essential oils are not as effective as other herbal solutions
Just like I’ve never had any luck with using essential oils to calm my child, I’ve never had luck using them to heal an infection, get rid of a cough or cold or the flu, or improve gut health. It’s just not what they do.
When I need to tackle an illness, I reach for teas and tinctures.
Using herbs in tea and tincture form has been much more effective for our family than essential oils for clearing a respiratory infection or calming a cough, balancing neurotransmitters and calming a child, and kicking everything from sinus infections to Lyme disease.
My favorite ways to use herbs include
- scooping loose herbs like nettle and horsetail (both very nourishing herbs) into my French press and pouring boiling water over them to make a tea, which I drink after steeping and cooling
- making or buying herbal tinctures and extracts, which involves steeping herbs for many weeks in alcohol to release the herbs’ constituents before straining them out
- or taking herbal capsules, which contain an herb or herb mixture and are easy to quickly swallow for quick and simple usage.
Based on my personal experience of using herbs in these ways and getting outstanding results, healing my family, and never having had any significant improvement with essential oils, I just can’t say that essential oils are as effective as other herbal remedies.
Essential oil marketing makes me batty
Here’s where things get dicey. I have always been turned off by the marketing ploys of essential oils companies. Everyone who uses X company says their oils are the best and purest, and everyone who uses Y company says the same about theirs.
The problem with this is that there are a lot of wonderful essential oil companies making excellent products for reasonable prices, and no one trusts them because the bigger companies have done such a great job marketing their oils as the best, and convincing you that buying cheaper oils isn’t safe.
I’ve used tons of essential oils from lots of different companies (including the expensive ones) and guess what? No one brand has been any more effective than another. They all smell nice. They all perform the same minor tasks in my overall health routine. Some just cost way more than others. (Psst… you can even find certified organic essential oils for good prices, which I am all about!)
I think it’s great that I have friends who have been able to make a living selling essential oils and that those products have really improved their families’ lives. I don’t fault anyone for that. And if you’re most comfortable with and already love one brand, I don’t see anything wrong with that.
But I don’t find it necessary to get involved with an MLM and pay higher prices to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. (Read: are essential oils a scam?)
P.S. I love using this inexpensive, high quality brand!
Essential oil misinformation is rampant
When I first started using essential oils, they weren’t very well-known. I used them to scent homemade lotions and soaps. That was about it.
These days, everyone uses essential oils, and for all kinds of things. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve never felt comfortable with some of the information and “education” floating around about essential oils.
Lots of people promote taking essential oils internally, which I have personally never condoned, as they can be hard on the liver to process, and even do damage to tissues and organs.
I’ve seen children get burned by them due to improper dilution or failure to dilute. (Read: Essential Oil Safety for Kids.)
And, of course, there’s the promotion of using them to create a healthy lifestyle, which, as discussed, cannot be accomplished without major lifestyle changes.
Here is what is telling to me: members of popular MLMs frequently promote using essential oils internally or to heal various ailments, while personal friends and family members of mine who are trained in aromatherapy and essential oil usage have told me they would never take essential oils internally, nor do they promote them as a solution to health problems.
I wonder if essential oil safety is always the top priority with so much misinformation floating around.
How I do use essential oils
I’m not anti-essential oils, I promise. I’ve got a pretty extensive collection of them sitting in a lovely wooden box Mr. Incredible made me just for the purpose of housing them. I don’t reach for them in the case of battling illness, but I do use them for lots of little things, including:
- keeping my home smelling nice. I stopped using candles and other toxic fragrance sources years ago, so I switched over to using a diffuser, which allows me to let the subtle aromas of essential oils keep my home smelling like four little boys don’t live here (although they do). I have an inexpensive diffuser that I’ve used for years and love diffusing this germ-fighting blend, and this super calming and soothing blend.
- keeping my home clean. I make a simple all-purpose cleaner from water, germ-fighting essential oils, and a tablespoon or two of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and keep it in a spray bottle for cleaning everything from toilets to counter tops. It’s inexpensive, effective, and it smells really good.
- minor skin conditions. I love using an all-purpose salve for everything from stings, to scrapes, burns, and bruises. If I burn myself cooking, I slather on a little salve, which contains both herb-infused oils and essential oils, or I’ll use a combination of lavender and frankincense essential oils, which I have actually found to be very effective for soothing the skin and promoting healing.
- headaches. I’ve mentioned in this post about getting rid of migraines that I do use a little peppermint oil on pain points when I have a headache or migraine. However, if I’m eating well and getting plenty of sleep, as well as minding my stress levels, I rarely get headaches, which I why I suggest healing the underlying conditions through lifestyle changes rather than relying on essential oils to mask the problem.
I’m just not that into essential oils.
To each their own, and my own is not turning to essential oils when illness strikes. That doesn’t mean they’re bad or that I don’t have plenty of uses for them, I’m just not sure they are worthy of the pedestal they’re placed on in the healthy living community.